Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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Joye, Gilles

(b 1424 or 1425; d Bruges, 31 Dec 1483). Franco-Flemish composer. He may be the ‘Egidius Joye’ who was presented to a chaplaincy at St Martin, Courtrai, in 1439, in which case his father could be the Oliver Joye resident there c1420 (StrohmM, 1985, p.257). He was a priest in the diocese of Tournai when installed as a canon of Cleves in 1453. From 1449 he was a singer at St Donatian, Bruges, where the documents report him frequently as having been involved in street-fighting, refusing to take part in polyphony when the chapter abolished the Feast of Fools, visiting brothels and lodging a concubine widely known as Rosabelle (‘vocatam in vulgo Rosabelle’); he was nevertheless made a canon of St Donatian in 1459.

He sang as clerc at the Burgundian court chapel from September 1462, and from March 1464 as chappellain; he left after June 1468 but remained officially a member of the chapel until at least 1471, after which he seems to have returned to St Donatian, where he was buried. He also served as Rector of the Oude Kerk, Delft (documented 1465–73). Van Molle, in his comprehensive study, argued that Foppens (1731) was confused when he described Joye as a professor of theology and an excellent poet. The composer is named in Crétin’s déploration for the death of Ockeghem (1497); a portrait of Joye thought to be by Memling is dated 1472 (see illustration).

His music shows a graceful blend of lyricism and clear declamation, often with repeated notes. The textless song was copied by 1456, and all the others by 1465, apart from the obscene Ce qu’on fait, which gives no hint of being in any later style; so all are likely to antedate his time at the Burgundian court. But they are very much in the Franco-Flemish manner of these years, with the single exception of Poy ché crudel Fortuna, which sets a text by the Florentine poet Rosello Roselli (1399–1452). There happens to be no documentary evidence of his presence in Bruges between 1454 and 1459, so he may have been in Italy. Strohm’s view that the two three-part O rosa bella masses (ed. in G. Adler and O. Koller: Trienter Codices II, DTÖ, xxii, Jg.xi/1, nos.1–2) could be by Joye (a hypothesis fuelled by the name of his concubine), is hard to support objectively but by no means implausible from a stylistic viewpoint. The much later song J’ay bien nouri (ed. in Brown), ascribed to an otherwise unknown Johannes Joye in the Segovia choirbook (E-SE), is elsewhere convincingly ascribed to Johannes Japart, whose name could have been intended.


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